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Want to look as sleek and pampered as an Oscar nominee, without the budget-busting trip to the spa?
Whether you’re hitting the party circuit or watching the ceremony from home, following are foolproof ideas to get you red-carpet ready for any star-studded event.
BODY : SOAK
This simple, low-cost tub soak not only offers spa-like relaxation, it actually helps detoxify the body. Add two cups of Epsom salts and five to 10 drops of lavender essential oil to the tub as you run a hot bath. The soothing fragrance rising from the steaming water is the first step on the path to DIY decadence. Soak for about 20 minutes, then wrap yourself in your thickest terry cloth robe or bath towel.
BODY : SCRUB
Supermodels swear by homemade salt scrubs. Mix one cup of sea salt into one-half cup of olive oil. Substitute coconut oil or almond oil if you have those on hand. Use sugar instead of salt for a somewhat gentler abrasion. Add five to 10 drops of essential oils, like rosemary or eucalyptus, to the mix if you like. Slather onto the body generously, gently massaging the mixture into the skin to slough off dead skin cells. Take extra care to work it into dry areas, like elbows, hands and feet. (Ask your partner or spouse to massage the scrub into your back. No law against adding a touch of romantic flavor to the treatment!) Rinse off thoroughly with warm water and follow with your favorite body lotion or cream. HINT: A dry oil spray will add a soft, attractive sheen to skin without the greasy feel.
FACE : CLEANSE AND EXFOLIATE
Exfoliating helps remove dead skin cells so treatments can be more readily absorbed. After washing with your usual cleanser, mix a tablespoon of oatmeal with 3 to 5 tablespoons of warm water. Allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes, or until oats are soft. Gently massage the mixture over the face using fluid, circular motions. A washcloth soaked in warm water is the best way to remove all traces of oatmeal.
FACE : MASK
Whether you want to hydrate, tighten pores, or help brighten tone, there’s a DIY mix to suit:
To a mashed ripe banana add one teaspoon of lemon juice. Toss in a pinch of spirulina powder (it helps tighten pores) if you have it on hand. The banana adds soothing moisture, while the lemon juice has a brightening effect. Layer the mask over the face and let it rest for 10 to 20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.
Another surprisingly effective treatment? Combine 1 egg white with two teaspoons of lemon juice and one-half cup of… beer. That’s right! The yeast in the beer helps melt away dead cells as well as hydrate. Lime juice helps clear pores and even fade discoloration. Leave the mask on for 10 minutes, then use warm water to rinse.
For a mask that’s good enough to eat, add three tablespoons of orange juice to one-half cup of honey. Spread it over your face and leave it on for half an hour. (Spread the rest over toast, grab a cup of hot tea, and enjoy a quick spa breather!) A lukewarm water rinse finishes the treatment.
Of course, you can buy packaged facial masks without breaking the bank. Off-price stores like Marshall’s and TJ Maxx stock a wide variety of established U.S. brands, as well as products from countries as diverse as Italy, Israel and Australia. If you don’t recognize a product name, scan the ingredient list for natural — or even organic — ingredients like kaolin clay, jojoba or almond oil, and authentic plant extracts or essential oils. (A list rife with unpronounceable chemical names might be a sign to think twice.)
FACE : MOISTURIZE
Apply your usual moisturizer — or use a few drops of sesame or coconut oil — but remember, you’re prepping for the Globes! Pamper your newly treated skin by taking a few extra minutes to massage in moisturizer. Working in an upward motion, gently knead the product into cheeks, chin and forehead using smooth, even strokes.
HAIR : DEEP-CONDITIONING
Choices abound when it comes to deep conditioning. Go pure and simple, smoothing oils like olive, coconut, or avocado into the hair. Or mash an avocado with one to two teaspoons of olive oil for a an infusion of moisture and essential fatty acids. Need to fortify weak strands? Blend a cup of mayonnaise with two lightly beaten egg yolks for a hearty dose of protein. Or, if you’re feeling less than industrious, just add a tablespoon or so of your favorite oil to your usual deep conditioner. Heat helps products penetrate the hair shaft, so if you prefer applying deep treatments before you shampoo, condition during your salt soak. To boost the treatment after shampooing, cover your hair with a plastic cap and sit under a hood dryer, or apply heat from a blow-dryer, for 15 minutes. Rinse strands thoroughly with lukewarm water, and style. An elegant updo or cascading waves, curls or ringlets are festive and appropriate.
Now that you’ve got these pampering techniques down, take advantage of them to prep for any occasion — or just to spoil yourself at the end of a hectic workweek! Hollywood star or working Mom, you deserve a bit of luxury now and again.
This article was written by Daphne O’Neal, contributor for The Daily Clutch.